Desmodium brachypodum

Family Fabaceae

Large Tick-trefoil

Erect or scrambling perennial herb to 60 cm high. Longevity perhaps 20 - 30 years.

Flowers: Mauve pea flowers, mainly February–April.

Fruit: Pod 20–40 mm long, densely covered with minute hooked hairs, separating into 6–8, 1-seeded segments. Fruit shed at maturity. Fruit segments dispersed by adhesion to animals and humans.

Seed: 2.4 x 1.6 mm in size, not released spontaneously from fruit. Seeds with physical dormancy. Germinate readily once scarified. Soil stored seedbank.

Gallery images: seed, seedling, rootstock, resprout


  • Grassy woodland habitat.
  • Scattered patched in woodland at the Australian Botanic Garden.
  • Seeds often predated from within by weevil which develops at same time as seed.
  • Resprouts after fire.
  • Legumes reported to have nitrogen-fixing Rhizobium nodules on roots.

Ecology of Cumberland Plain Woodland

Desmodium brachypodum plant

Desmodium brachypodum flower

Desmodium brachypodum fruit

Desmodium brachypodum seed